Regatta winners (L to R): Carrie Greene, Gail Heausler, Lisa Brown Ehrhart, Amanda Huss, PJ Summerville, and Sherry Swan
Sail-a-brate Good Times, Come On!
To commemorate FWSA’s 50 Years of Sail-a-brating, the Dinghy Dames hosted the first FWSA Educational Sailing Symposium and the Interclub Friendsgiving Regatta, Nov. 13-14, 2023.
On Monday, the FWSA Educational Sailing Symposium was attended by 90 sailors to rave reviews. The symposium covered a range of topics on racing tactics and boat maintenance. Thanks to presenters Carrie Greene, Emily Wagner, Gail Heausler, Linda Schwartz, Lisa Brown Ehrhart, and Tom Turton. Afterward, the ladies were welcomed for a Happy Hour at the home of Dinghy Dames Colleen Jones, where everyone shared food and conversation with new friends and old.
While thinking about the Regatta on the next day, people were a little nervous about the upcoming weather, as there had been a week of forecasts for heavy winds and rain.
When Tuesday finally dawned, the day was a bit gray, with winds averaging 11 - 13 knots and flat seas: it started out as a perfect day for racing! Our bustling group of women rigged their sails, excited to get out on the water to race. Props to the Social Committee for a bracing breakfast for a racing day!
With 42 Sunfish, 9 Prams, and 3 Capris registered from the Bitter Ends, Dinghy Dames, Luffing Lassies, Mainsheet Mamas, Rhumb Runners, Windlasses, and Salty Sisters, plus a few Independents, the Race Committee was set to have their hands full. By race time, though, with the forecast continuing to show increasing and very gusty winds, the Capri fleet elected not to go out and several of those crews decided to race Prams or Sunfish. About half the fleet of Sunfish decided that the forecast was going to be too much to handle, so they elected to enjoy the race from the terrific spectator deck of the DIYC Clubhouse, sitting in comfortable chairs sipping our signature cocktail, the Autumn Apple Mimosa.
With a steady northeasterly breeze of 11+ and expecting to rise, the Race Committee set up the windward/leeward course just outside the seaplane basin, and deployed their four support boats (special thanks to Tampa Yacht Club for sending a crack crew and boat over to help out!) to ensure the safety of the fleets.
In Race #1, Amanda Hus smoked the Sunfish fleet with a first-place finish well in front of every other sailor, but with the rain squalls coming in for Races 2 and 3, places among the two fleets changed with every mark rounding. At the end of the day, the top three Sunfish finishers were only separated by 5 points: Gail Heausler took first place, Lisa Ehrhart finished second, and Amanda finished third, out of 20 sailors competing.
For the 11 Prams, in the first race Carrie Greene sailed so fast that she finished among the Sunfishes! She held on to the lead for all three races. PJ Summerville and Sherry Swan tied overall, with PJ winning the tiebreaker for second, and Sherry for third.
In a tribute to good boat handling, all the racers managed the wind and changing conditions without mishap -although we did have one capsize (but that sailor was up and back in the race so quickly, we hardly knew she had gotten wet!). The starts were without recalls, and there were some nail-biting finishes, so the sailors enjoyed some great competitive sailing.
Afterward, everyone enjoyed the buffet lunch of Autumn Soup and salad. On each table, guests found leaves to write what they were thankful for and hung them from our Friendsgiving Tree. Our Pram and Sunfish winners each chose a unique silk scarf brought back from Paris.
A big shout out to the Dames who volunteered to serve on Race Committee: Debbie Dietrick, Kaki King, Susan Cintron, Susie Colunio and, Viola Smith. And, as usual, the Dinghy Dudes offered excellent support: Bob Griffin, Charlie Cushing, James Takacs, Joe Blouin, Paul Leonard, and Tom Turton. Thanks also to volunteers Antolin Rivera, BG Holmberg and Joel Barry. They are a crackerjack crew, and we couldn’t have done it without them! Thanks to the Social Committee, who organized and decorated the clubhouse. Special thanks to Missy Weiner as official photographer.
Karol Pichon, Principal Race Officer Chansi Harrow, DD Interclub Chair